It has been a long time coming, but there is now a final ruling on Cali's huge overcrowded prisons. From Jurist:
The US Supreme Court on Friday effectively required California to carry out a lower court's order and come up with a plan to reduce the number of inmates in its prisons. In a brief order, the Court said that it would not stay an earlier order by a special federal court panel compelling California to create a plan that will reduce the state's overcrowding from its current level of 190 percent of maximum capacity to a more manageable 137.5 percent. The Supreme Court, however, noted that California was only appealing its need to create a plan to reduce prison overcrowding and that, ultimately, the Supreme Court would have a say in the special panel's final order for the California prison system.
In its earlier order, the lower court noted that that due to extremely poor medical care, one inmate was "dying needlessly every six or seven days." In August 2008, California's court-appointed prison medical overseer J.Clark Kelso asked the court to force the state to add 8 billion dollars over the next five years to bring prison healthcare to constitutionally acceptable standards. In response to a 2006 order to reduce overcrowding, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the transfer of some prisoners out-of-state. (emphasis mine)
It really pisses me the fuck off that Cali prisons are so grossly over-crowded and yet the state has been fighting tooth and nail to keep the status quo intact. I thought we had more compassionate liberals here than most states.
How would lowering the prison population to 137 percent of capacity make them easier to manage? From a 2006 report:
Since 1990, the prison population has increased by 73 percent – nearly three times faster than the general adult population. California prisons currently hold about 171,000 adults; approximately 616 per 100,000 adults in California are in state prison. California ranks 17th among all states for incarceration rates.
Gee, somehow I thought we ranked higher in incarceration rates. What a relief that we are only 17th. (snark alert)
California spends over $10 Billion dollars a year on prisons. That is 11 percent of our general fund.
Is it possible that we have such massive overcrowding because our state government has cut or ended most programs that rehabilitate prisoners, thereby increasing the recidivism rate? From HuffPo on this subject:
California on the other hand is going in the opposite direction. They have eliminated drug treatment programs, sex offender counseling and virtually every program which prepares inmates to live healthy, productive lives after they are released. These cuts allow the prisons to keep the maximum number of inmates incarcerated, but with no programs to occupy their time productively. Why? It certainly isn't making us safer.
Fuck no it doesn't make us safer. Even TX has more common sense on this issue than Cali does.
So now, Ahnold will finally have to deal with the prison overcrowding issue, as will the idiots in the State Assembly. They have wasted years fighting the fed's on this issue, but now it's time to shut-the-fuck-up and fix it.
All the law and order types will now commence screeching and bitching about letting criminals out on the streets. They have no one to blame but themselves.